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Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic  What They Do

Just the Facts


Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Career Video



Assesses injuries, administers emergency medical care, and extricates trapped individuals. Transports injured or sick persons to medical facilities.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Administers first aid treatment or life support care to sick or injured persons in prehospital settings.
  • Operates equipment, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), external defibrillators, or bag valve mask resuscitators, in advanced life support environments.
  • Performs emergency diagnostic and treatment procedures, such as stomach suction, airway management, or heart monitoring, during ambulance ride.
  • Observes, records, and reports to physician the patient's condition or injury, the treatment provided, and reactions to drugs or treatment.
  • Assesses nature and extent of illness or injury to establish and prioritize medical procedures.
  • Drives mobile intensive care unit to specified location, following instructions from emergency medical dispatcher.
  • Decontaminates ambulance interior following treatment of patient with infectious disease and reports case to proper authorities.
  • Administers drugs, orally or by injection, or performs intravenous procedures under a physician's direction.
  • Coordinates work with other emergency medical team members or police or fire department personnel.
  • Immobilizes patient for placement on stretcher and ambulance transport, using backboard or other spinal immobilization device.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Related Careers


Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Emergency Room Technician -- Helps doctors and nurses care for patients in emergency situations by performing clinical tasks such as taking blood samples to help with diagnostic tests, connecting patients to medical equipment and preparing patients for various emergency procedures.
  • Flight Paramedic -- Provides safe critical-care and air-medical transport to ill and injured patients.
  • Emergency Vehicle Operator --
  • First Responder --
  • Rescue Worker --